In the past year they’ve come out of the woodwork in force here [NE Florida]. I got propositioned by one lady after I had a change of heart and gave her a couple of bucks. :eek:
Since then, I’ve been regularly approached in various parking lots, and when I (now) try to totally ignore them, they just get more insistent if not hostile. Meanhoo it seems like almost every busy intersection has one (or more!) working the beat when cars stop for the lights. Sometimes they’re carrying a kid, or a puppy, or both…
Downtown, we had 7 get arrested recently for being too in your face, placing their signs on people’s windshields at lights while asking for money.
Now, I fully realize that you can easily be down on your luck and genuinely in need, but a lot of these seem like pros (or at least pretenders to such)–and since I have first hand experience with it sometimes being associated with prostitution, it all seems rather hinky to me.
I see panhandlers hanging out by expressways fairly regularly around where I live. I used to get the hostile types but haven’t in a while. I do encounter the “professional panhandlers” very regularly. I have no problem giving a few bucks to someone who is obviously struggling in life. But if you are begging for money and you have better shoes on than me and you are freshly shaven with clean clothes on, brother, you ain’t down and out.
What makes me roll my eyes are the ubiquitous "God Bless You"s that end virtually every single sign that panhandlers hold up to the cars. This strikes me as passive aggressive, like they are so humble asking for anything you can spare and even if you can’t spare anything, well, God Bless you all the same. It’s a guilt trip. IMO.
I recently had one guy in downtown Memphis bang on my window and call me names because I wouldn’t roll it down to look at his fine selection of ear buds all twisted together in a knot. Just two dollars each!
I have noticed they are getting more aggressive lately. My daughter told me they come in to the Dog Daycare every once in a while. They’ll start asking customers for money.
I have noticed the aggressive ones in Florida when I am traveling there. I spied a woman in a parking lot with something wrapped in a blanket that she was trying to be very convincing to passersby that it was a baby, bouncing and patting it and all that, only it was entirely bundled up on a very warm day and you couldn’t see any part of it. A real baby would have suffocated under all that. She meandered my way and I shook my head and said “Sorry Lady” and waved her off. She began yelling at me in Spanish. I wonder what she would have done if I had played it all nice and asked to see the baby.
You must do an amazing amount of outreach among that population to know so much about every single panhandler personally! How many hours a day do you spend speaking to them to glean this information and then keep track of it?
Here in Utah the quantity seems to change w/ the seasons; but year-round there’s rarely a week I don’t see at least 2-3 people w/ signs at parking lot driveways or freeway exit ramps.
Here in Florida there are still lots of sign-carrying panhandlers but I haven’t noticed any upticks in their numbers or aggression.
Last time I was in SLC a couple years ago for a few days, there were lots of in-your-face panhandlers but didn’t see any sign-carriers. I did appreciate that they didn’t use some sob story about how they were a down on their luck vet or hassle me: they just simply asked for money and took no for an answer the first time.
Now, of course, due to the baader-meinhof phenomenon, I’m sure I will see lots of sign-carrying panhandlers when I visit again in mid-may.
I often help panhandlers - except for the ones who take squeegees and put cleaning solvent on my car windshield without my asking them to, or in fact, my actively waving them away *not *to. I don’t WANT that stuff on my car.
They’re common where I live on busy intersections (especially highway on/off ramps), but not aggressive in the least that I’ve seen. I encounter them pretty much every day. That said, some of them do offer a “windshield cleaning” service, but they’re all good enough not to start cleaning your windshield and then asking you for money (as I’ve seen elsewhere.) They’ll actually ask, and if you say no, just move on to the next car. ETA: Heh, a little bit of synchronicity there with my post and Velocity’s. (I had not seen the post when replying.)
I have noticed more panhandlers lately as well. Not sure if something has changed recently. I generally try to treat them as fellow human beings, but I normally do not give them anything, as I think it encourages them and increases their numbers in that area. If they start to get cranky with me then I will shout back “I can’t help you! Go away!” and that deters any further escalation. They would not be sitting on medians and roaming grocery store parking lots unless it is working. By not contributing I figure I am sending the message that I feel there are other options for them to follow (help exists for homeless people in my area).
However, exceptions are made. On a bike trip we encountered a couple in their early 20s asking for money to buy food at a fast food place, and we just asked them what they wanted and all of us threw-in a few bucks and got them some food, and gave it to them outside the store. They were very grateful. I guess we bought their story.
I have also seen people give random homeless people their business lunch doggie-bag (especially in San Francisco). I have no problem with that, either.
In the past few years, panhandling has skyrocketed around my area (northern Minneapolis suburbs). You can’t drive down any main artery without seeing at least one every few blocks.
The city I reside in disallows it. The next few cities around do not, stating it’s a 1st Amendment thing. At one 4 way stop, each median has a panhandler. Many people around here do the “care package” thing - sandwich, water, granola bar - instead of money. It’s very common to see the packages tossed in the street.
We also have had an upswing of panhandlers in parking lots. I no longer go to the Target nearest me, as every day there are two women who “just need $17” to get home to Detroit/Chicago/Iowa City/Omaha. They will run up to your car, giving you the same sob story every day, always $17.00. If you say no, they will cuss at you, kick your car, follow you to the doors, calling you names.
Yeah, what is it with the bikes? The last few times I’ve been in CA on business, I’ve been approached at the gas pump when I’m refueling my rental car. In each case, the guy had a bike and told me he had just come down from [name a city] and didn’t have anything to eat. In one case, the guy specifically asked for a hot dog and a cold drink. Does having a bicycle suggest that the person is not homeless, just forgetful about bringing something to eat on a 20+ mile bike trip?
SLC’s Operation Rio Grande last August has had a chilling effect in the downtown homeless community so unless you spend a good amount of time near Library Square you’ll likely have a less intense experience. SLC’s outreach is unique; they even have a hospice for those who are homeless and terminal.
The homeless paper’s been around at least 30 years that I know of. People who earn wages are allowed to buy whatever they like, as far as I know, up to and including a device that can help them keep in touch w/ family or a potential employer (it’s rare there’s one who’s willing to overlook the lack of a home address in order to hire people). Used iPhones are pretty cheap nowadays, since so many morons w/ ,more money than sense trade them in when there’s nothing wrong w/ them whatsoever just so they can have the latest gadget w/o concern for price. A phone is cheaper than a home and groceries and car, especially on a monthly basis. It’s not the luxury you’re trying to make it out to be.
The poster was on a bike, not the panhandler AIUI.
Some of the attitudes in this thread remind me of the Paris Hilton meme where her shirt says ‘STOP BEING POOR’.
Can you share more about Operation Rio Grande? I am puzzled by the apparent contradiction between “chilling”, which sounds bad, and the description that follows, which sounds fairly humane (a hospice sounds unique and something that the rest of us should be doing too).